49ers: How responsible is Jimmy Garoppolo for Daniel Kilgore’s contract?

On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers center Daniel Kilgore signed a three-year contract extension with the team that drafted him. But does Kilgore have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to thank for his new multi-year deal?

 

San Francisco 49ers center Daniel Kilgore is the latest beneficiary in general manager John Lynch’s recent spending spree, signing a three-year extension worth up to $12 million:

However, unlike the contract of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who flourished in 2017, Kilgore’s contract is more surprising news, as the center’s latest season was much more pedestrian.

Kilgore was Pro Football Focus’ 23rd ranked center in 2017, with an overall grade of 51.0. However, as noted by PFF’s Jeff Deeney, Kilgore’s game improved drastically with Garoppolo under center:

Looking at his PFF grades by week, Kilgore’s performance with Garoppolo may have been top 10 overall, but his grades were below league average in three of the five games he played with his new QB:

Where Garoppolo really helped Kilgore was in the passing game, where all five games were in Kilgore’s top seven of the season:

How responsible is Garoppolo for Kilgore’s new contract? The quarterback’s public comments about his center made it clear where he stood on the subject:

I think there’s a special relationship between the center and quarterback. We spend so much time together. Me and him got on the same page almost instantly when I got here. He made my job a lot easier in the run game and all that stuff. We complement each other very well, so hopefully we’ll work something out.

Kilgore may have Garoppolo to thank for his contract extension, but the center will have to improve in the running game — while staying consistent in the passing game — if wants to keep his his starting job beyond 2018.